I am sitting in my room with the mad drumming of puja going on all around me, bells are ringing, whistles blowing and I love it.
Today was my last full day at The Tolly Club and I spent most of the morning with Sandip in the office. Well in Indrajit's office to be precise which I may have taken over since I have been here.
I popped outside to say hello to Indrajit, who was giving a putting lesson, although I asked, "How can you possibly teach putting?" I have been able to putt (and putt well) from day one. It is all in the feel. However, I do know set up and position can be taught and I guess if you are wanting to crack the professional ranks, of course you have continual lessons on every aspect of your game as you strive to improve.
It rained on and off all morning so most of the lessons happened in the shelter of the range, rather than on the putting surface, which was covered with a tarp every time it rained. I was writing for most of the morning as I chatted to Sandip and Indrajit, who was coming in and out.
Indrajit and I then spent the afternoon pursuing our joint passion of golf. How can you not love this game? While I didn't have my clubs or shoes, I hit balls barefoot with a borrowed 7 iron. Indrajit was practicing, preparing for a tournament he has in Chennai.
I definitely need a glove in this country due to the humidity. Squeezing the club tighter as my hands get sweatier completely ruins my shots. My first bucket of balls was fine, but the second had a fair amount of rubbish.
I'm definitely coming back next year. Indrajit and I are already discussing a Mumbai golfing adventure, as he is involved in teaching programs there. We want to add a Fairways program for disadvantaged kids in Mumbai for when I return.
I watched some juniors get their lessons and spoke with Indrajit about Sandeep, the talented kid who has qualified for the Indian Junior Golf Tour, and who I wrote about yesterday. Fairways sponsorship funds are better off going to multiple juniors to pay their green fees, rather than pay the travel and accommodation costs of a single junior tour player.
Indrajit understood completely. He has asked me a few times how we are paying for what we are doing, and while we have had a little sponsorship money come in through our website, I am putting the rest on my credit card until I get a job in Australia to cover the costs.
I am doing something I believe in and it is only money. I don't need much and the delight on the juniors' faces when they hear their golf is fully paid for, is priceless.
Indrajit then rang the benefactor who had sponsored Souvik, the other day, and spoke to him about Sandeep. He agreed to sponsor both boys on the tour! Sandeep came into Indrajit's office and and was told about his sponsorship. He promised to put in the effort to justify the belief we all have in him. I gave him two sleeves of Snell balls to help him on his journey, and said I would follow him with interest. He thanked us both and left to practice for a few more hours.
During the course of the day I spoke with many of the staff that I have come to know this week. I will miss being here and already am looking forward to returning. I have golf booked to play with a couple of Fairways juniors next year, and I'm sure Indrajit would like to get a chance to win back his PGTI pin.
It has certainly been a fantastic Indian adventure and I have made a great friend and golf connection in Indrajit, met some wonderful people, and seen some amazing junior golfers. I can't wait to follow the Fairways' cadets pursue their passion.
I think the unrest and danger up North, and having to pull my bags off a flight, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Plans can change at the last minute for the better!